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New International, July 1949


The New Europe


From The New International, Vol. XV No. 5, Jul 1949, p. 134.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The Europe familiar to us shortly after the war, the Europe of prostration, profound misery and stagnation, is happily now a memory of the past. Drawing upon its still gigantic resources of both material wealth and organization, together with the capacities of its working masses, Europe has, within the past three years, staged an economic and cultural recovery little short of remarkable. Many of us who had tended to give up the Old World to the twin disasters of permanent disintegration and Russian Stalinist conquest have again learned the lesson of Western Europe’s rich vitality and capacity for recovery from disaster.

This recovery, of course, takes place within a strictly limited field and we are the last to overestimate its extent. But the real point is that the character of Europe’s crisis has now changed in a drastic way. Whereas, in 1945, the problem of Europe was one of restoring an elementary level of productivity, preventing pestilence and hunger, halting the sweep of Stalinism and the reduction of Western Europe by the same totalitarian leveling machine which already had crushed Eastern Europe, the problems of today are posed on a vastly higher level.

Return to "Normalcy"

These problems, in an economic sense, are inherent in the structure of a revived European capitalism. They are problems of distribution, prices, unemployment, exchange, finance and currency. They indicate that, at any rate, some form of “normalcy,” recovery and stabilization has taken place; economic and social life have resumed. This is particularly true for Western Germany. The implications are clear enough. They are well stated in an editorial in the new review of world socialism, Confrontation Internationale (No. 2, May–June, 1949):

The defeat suffered by the Kremlin on the European continent is now universally recognized. For the next period, at least, the danger of seeing the Iron Curtain pushed to the shores of the Atlantic – a danger which obsessed not only the ruling classes for several years, but also large sections of the working class and even revolutionary movements – has been dispelled. It is clear that Moscow, under heavy economic and political pressure from Washington, must now abandon any idea of establishing the power of Stalinism over the West – we repeat again, for the next period – and must concentrate its efforts on consolidating its power acquired after the war in Eastern Europe. The Third World War which would otherwise have been precipitated between the two gigantic blocs has thus been pushed back until later. From all possible viewpoints, this creates a more favorable perspective for all of us.

The revival of Europe, then, is not only a defeat for both American and Russian imperialism which unsuccessfully sought to strangle the Old Continent

between them. It signifies, in addition, that the material and sociological basis for the resurrection of a militant, forward-looking European democratic and socialist movement, formed and shaped by the working classes, once more exists. Whereas in 1945 the problem was, so to speak, to create a working class in the most elementary sense of the word, today’s problem is to find the ways and means of lifting this revived working class to new heights, to broaden its vision and enlarge its perspective. This is indeed a change from 1945!

A Partial Picture

In presenting this series of articles and surveys, The New International desires to give a partial picture of the new Europe, in conjunction with contrasting pictures from Stalinized Europe; as well as a partial posing of some of the new problems. Henry Judd describes the effects of the Marshall Plan, and the new set of economic problems this recovery has brought with it; the famous Italian socialist-novelist, Ignazio Silone, expresses the deep-going, anti-war sentiments of Europe’s masses and the characteristic viewpoint of the independent European mind; R. Harper outlines for us the factors behind the new difficulties of England and its Labor government, and our German correspondent details some of the basic tactical and strategic problems to be solved by the German socialist movement. In addition, thanks to the efforts of Comrade Martin, The New International has penetrated behind the Iron Curtain and is able to present his graphic picture of life in Russian-occupied “SEDistan,” as Eastern Germany is familiarly called.

In presenting this feature symposium on Europe we make no claim of exhausting the problems involved but we hope to make our readers conscious of the fact that a significant and most favorable transformation has taken place.


Europe Rejects War
by Ignazio Silone

Marshall Plan: Phase II
by Henry Judd

England: Grim Island Kingdom
by R. Harper

German Labor Trends
by H.F.

Journey to Sedistan
by Roger Martin

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